WACSI Strengthens the Communication Skills of CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire and Cape Verde during COVID-19

WACSI Strengthens the Communication Skills of CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire and Cape Verde during COVID-19

The civil society sector has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby reducing civil society organisation’s (CSO) capacity to effectively implement their activities and reach targeted vulnerable communities. As lock-down measures have been put in place, CSOs have had to reduce, postpone or even cancel their programmatic interventions.

However, West African CSOs have also intensified their efforts in flattening the curve of the pandemic, particularly through information and communications technology (ICT) activities. Because they have access to communities that donors and governments have difficulty to reach, they have been essential in complementing governments’ COVID-19 national responses. CSOs like TY Danjuma Foundation in Nigeria have been involved in awareness-raising around COVID-19 preventive measures, signs and symptoms by regularly publishing updates and informative messages on social media. SEND GhanaPenplusbytes and YIAGA Nigeria among others have also initiated leading online citizen monitoring initiatives to promote transparency, responsiveness and accountability of West African governments COVID-19 response.

Yet, the technology and communication gap has also been exacerbated by the COVID-19. While several CSOs have succeeded in diverting their activities online, a high proportion of West African CSOs has limited capacities to use digital technology and ICTs. Their insufficient ability to communicate the impact of their work prevents key stakeholders to know about their activities during COVID-19.

In this context, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) has been undergoing online half-day training on communication skills and strategies for CSOs in 18 countries in West and Central Africa registered on the West Africa Civil Society E-Directory.

On 8 May 2020, the Institute provided 33 CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire and Cape Verde with skills and knowledge to effectively manage all internal and external communications within a non-profit organisational setting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

This interactive online training aimed at equipping participants in knowledge and skills to develop practical communication strategies, to write impactful stories of their work and to use the West Africa Civil Society E-Directory to communicate their organisation’s impact. This bilingual online platform provides space for organisations from all ECOWAS member states as well as Cameroon, Chad and Mauritania, to establish networks and partnerships, share knowledge sharing and collect data on civil society’s work.

According to Perpetual Tindiana, Project Coordinator, Civil Society E-Directory, “[this training] is important because it provides CSOs with the opportunity to communicate their core messages whiles boosting their visibility. Organisations often seek to strategically attract the interest of supporters and win the understanding and confidence of supportive stakeholders, as such, coining their key messages in a rightful manner enhances their engagement”.

94% of participants in the training reckoned that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the training. According to one participant, “this training allowed me to better understand the difference between the communication means and channels, as well as the tools of communication tools. It also enabled us to strengthen our communication messages to better adapt them to our different targets”.

The training’s methodology was also very much appreciated: “The training had a participatory and dynamic methodology with enriching exchanges. The slides were well presented, and the explanation was of high quality”, another participant explained.

Do you want to benefit from such training? If yes, please register on our E-Directory platform here. If you have difficulty in registering, please watch this explanatory video or contact us at regionaldirectory@wacsi.org or +233501440545.

About the author

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Yse Auque-Pallez holds a Bachelor in Social Sciences and Philosophy from Sciences Po Paris and La Sorbonne Paris IV since 2018, she is a Second Year Master's degree student in International Development with African Studies and Project Management Majors at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA - Sciences Po).

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Yse Auque-Pallez

Yse Auque-Pallez holds a Bachelor in Social Sciences and Philosophy from Sciences Po Paris and La Sorbonne Paris IV since 2018, she is a Second Year Master's degree student in International Development with African Studies and Project Management Majors at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA - Sciences Po).

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FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

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DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality.


Previously, Omolara served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

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CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

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NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.